12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2011
Like a lot of other reviewers I thought there was far too much "technobabble" in this novel. The author often shoves long explanations of fantastical advances in science into the story which ultimately add nothing to the plot. I think you would have to be a fervent fan of sci-fi to rave about this book. It doesn't really get interesting until about two-thirds into the story. The ending is not too bad, if a little predictable, so I gave this book three stars. If you liked the BBC drama "Outcasts" you should like this.
63 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 2010
I started reading this book on my notebook and switched to my Kindle when it arrived and so this has the distinction of being my first Kindle 3G read. There were occasions, however, when I nearly gave up on it, but my curiosity over where the plot was going kept me going.
It is not a sophisticated read, a little clumsy and in need of a good editing. I also felt that, perhaps it is for younger readers, although that might be doing a disservice to younger readers (I'm too old to comment). Certainly the protagonist seems to act and get treated like a teenager and that seems to be the narrative viewpoint. My biggest problem with the book is that the author has a tendency to dwell on overly detailed explanations that add little to the story and interrupt the pace. It is almost as if all of the research the author has done for the book **has** to find its way onto the page. Because of this I occasionally found myself skim reading parts. I don't want to give the plot away, because there are good twists and ideas in here, sufficient to keep me reading, but there is one scene where the main character is in a life or death situation and rather than develop that and build some tension, I thought it wandered off into some distracting explanation or another.
I think you have to read to the end to understand what the author was doing with some of the earlier chapters, particularly the future-history lessons, which initially seemed a little over the top - and overly juvenile in their explanations (although you will understand at the end). I'm not sure but, these might have been less distracting, if some of the other 'over-explanations' and 'analysis', were cut back.
In summary, I found it a little frustrating, but do not regret taking the time to finish it, even if I did have to skim read some of the (in my opinion) unnecessary techno-detail.
36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on 5 October 2010
The premise of this book is nothing new, but it's to the author's skill in setting the scene in quite a convincing way that I didn't see the twist in the plot coming. Unfortunately, he lets himself down by including rather lengthy explanations of the supposedly out of this world tech, which slows everything down. By the end, I was just skimming the pages as he'd really lost my interest.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 14 December 2011
When I downloaded this novel I wasn't expecting much, just something to keep me amused during my daily commute. What I got was a yarn that engaged me from the beginning simply because the author's style was so easy to get on with. This is no ground breaking story and the plot devises and eventual twist have been done many times before, but it works. Mainly because of the main character's musings on scientific method and the environment in which he is in. Having read a lot of SF I am well used to a story that goes back and fore between what is happening now and what happened in the past but somehow this doesn't work in Containment. I had to ask myself if now is really now or are the events I'm reading were in the recent past. There are also a couple of places where something is said to be true when, given the timeline, could not be. Maybe if I re-read it I would resolve these queries but this is not a book where you would do that. However, this is a really good, solid SF read and I would recommend it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2011
For 49p it was not a bad read. Though there was a bit too much technical explanation for me and I found the ending a bit of an anticlimax and unfulfilling. I also found it a bit difficult to follow as part of the story was after the accident and part was before and it was a bit confusing, at least to me, to know whether we in the present or past.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2011
I stumbled across this whilst looking for something new in the sci-fi genre. There are some great ideas in the book and it's nicely paced and structured. I was a bit disappointed that it ended so abruptly but I guess there's the possibility for a sequel. Can't complain at 49 pence. Fantastic value for money.
on 18 February 2012
"Containment" by Christian Cantrell was a book I picked up without knowing anything about it beyond it being Science Fiction. I basically won a competition that enabled me to pick any book under a certain price from Amazon and "Containment" was the highest ranked Science Fiction e-book available at the time for that price.
The story is set in the future on a colony set up on Venus by the Global Space Agency (GSA) after humanity had almost devastated Earth. Arik is a member of the first group of children born on the colony who are collectively known as Gen V. The birth of these children however has taken the population to 1100 which is the maximum limit the colony can safely support. Arik, as one of the smartest of his generation is tasked with helping solve this issue and increasing the ability of the colony to sustain future generations. The pressure on Arik to solve the conundrum however is increased he discovers that his wife is pregnant with a child that the colony would currently be unable to sustain.
Considering that I picked up this book due to the luck of the current sales rankings; I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Cantrell has created a vivid and interesting picture of how a colony on another planet could function. He also combines the elements of science, plot and Arik's characterisation really well to ensure the reader is fully engaged in the overall plight of the colony. However, whilst all of this helped keep the reader engaged, I felt the characters beyond Arik were all a little bit flat and this let the novel down as it didn't really allow me to form any attachment. I particularly found that Arik's wife was almost a non entity even though it appeared that most of what he was doing was for her and their child.
The book was a little bit different to many of the other books I have recently read in that it definitely is not faced paced. The story creeps along, gently revealing more and more information about both the past and present in an interesting and controlled manner that kept me hooked. In fact, the only fast paced element of the story was probably in relation to the superb twist in the plot that I only saw coming a few pages before it was actually revealed. I actually quite liked how the reveal at this stage was told in this different manner to the rest of the story.
A minor issue I did have with the story was mainly in regards to the skipping back and forth in time. Basically, it wasn't always easy to realise what time period you were reading about and sometimes you could be a few pages in before you knew. I think the utilisation of the flashbacks did help to increase the tension and mystery around what could actually be going on, but I think the author could have found a way to make it clearer which time period I was reading about upon starting a chapter etc.
An issue I think some readers may have with the book is that this book is quite a "hard" Science Fiction book in that it doesn't hold back any punches in relation to the details utilised to describe some of the computing, technology and science. Some readers may therefore find that it all goes a little bit over their heads and slows the pace down even more. For myself, I found some of the details rather interesting although I did feel that Cantrell would sometimes descend into describing something at rather strange points in the novel. For example, he launches into a detailed description of the maglev system towards the end of the novel in a manner that I felt upset the flow of the plot which had been building up quite nicely to that point. This was compounded by the fact that I had already been introduced to the maglev several times previously and had already formed my own picture of it and its function.
Overall, I found Containment to be an enjoyable and interesting example of Hard Science Fiction that seems to have modelled itself on novels such as "2001: A Space Odyssey". As long as you can look past the rather detailed description utilised throughout the novel, then the engaging plot and well constructed setting should be enough to keep you entertained.
on 7 January 2012
Containment is the second book that I bought for mere pence from the Kindle store. The description of the book sounded interesting enough, so I thought I'd give it a go. The sci-fi genre has no shortage of stories like this, and whilst the setting of Containment can't be called generic, equally it doesn't tread new ground for the genre either. However, Cantrell does an excellent job of building up an image of the colony and engaging the reader with the plight of the colonists. The main focus of the book is Arik himself, but the peripheral characters are detailed just enough to give a sense of the society and culture that exists within the colony.
The plot itself progresses at a decent enough pace, with Cantrell cleverly jumping between different time periods to the reader interested and engaged. There is some sense of mystery and tension from the outset, and this is maintained until the plot becomes more hard hitting later on.
The book isn't perfect. Cantrell favours significant passages where he describes science and technology, and whilst this fits in well in the initial portions of the book, I felt it was over used towards the end, to the point where the pace of the final 10% or so of the book felt a bit laboured, albeit the ending itself was satisfying enough.
Overall though this is well worth a read for fans of the genre, and may even ensnare the odd newcomer. I was debating with myself whether to award this three or four stars, and I think ultimately I would have given it three and a half if I could. But the well constructed setting and largely engaging plot makes it worth rounding up for me, so four stars it is.
I read my first ever Christian Cantrell story a couple of days ago and liked it so much that I immediately bought Containment.
Containment is a very clever full length novel. Set the near/medium term future the story has as much an eco-thriller feel to it as it does pure science fiction.
The story is told in several interleaved sub-stories describing a very detailed and believable future-history of Earth, and the life of Arik, a young man of the first generation born at the Venus V1 colony both before and after recovering from a serious brain injury.
There is a lot of depth to this story and on the Kindle there are the most "Popular Highlights" of any Kindle book I have read so far. Of course you can turn off highlighting if you find these distracting. Personally I found that in this book at least, they really got me thinking.
Although the story is multi-threaded and covers some pretty complex subject matter, it really is very easy to read and I found myself speeding through the pages looking forward to the next little plot development or nugget of wisdom that the author had in store. Several twists and turns keep you guessing all the way through and the ending was particularly well done, being touching without being over-dramatic or clichéd.
Once again, as with the last Christian Cantrell book I read, formatting and presentation on the Kindle are absolutely first class.
Overall - An unusual and rewarding story that is worth nothing less than 5 stars.
on 3 February 2013
In general I thought this was a good sci-fi read. There was a good interesting story line and there was an unsolved mystery that was there from the start. All the right buttons were pressed at the beginning and indeed in a lot of places this mystery and pace was kept going well. Sadly the reason I haven't given in four or even five stars is for two main reasons. The first being that in places there is way too much techno babble and unless the reader has a scientific background, then all this serves to do is to slow the pace too much, cause the reader to yawn and the skimming starts. The other reason is that I felt that the real twist and what in my opinion should have been the ending, comes about two thirds of the way through the book and what happens after that is a bit of an anticlimax,as the reader is expecting another twist and revelation here. Also I felt the ending was somewhat ambiguous and needed further elaboration. Actually the same could be said about other areas of the book as I think another reviewer has already pointed out that although the techno stuff is over elaborated in places, some of the other parts of the story line aren't really elaborated on quite enough. I will probably read the sequel though if I like the look of the sample.